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A > ATARI  > 600 / 800 XL


Atari
600 / 800 XL

RAM enlargement from David Cady:
I can remember there were some ways to enlarge the RAM, but probably the best was QMeg (by Stefan Dorndorf), that boosted 800XL's RAM to 320 kB (256 kB + original 64 kB)! I made some very good experience with it (e.g. there was a way of uploading more programs to memory and then to switch between them - sounds like a predecessor of Windows [Alt] + [Tab]). As far as I can remember, this memory enlargement was based on memory shadowing.

Another great thing was a cheap way of installing the DOS directly on the 'motherboard' - I can't remember the name of this enhancement, but there was a switch on the right side to select either standard (no DOS) or DOS mode. It worked perfectly and, in fact, it was much better than DOS 3.0 shipped with the 1050 disk drive, that had some serious bugs (incompatibility with older programs and/or DOS versions, no disk density handling management, occasional memory reset and some other). It's main feature was its simplicity - I just turned on the computer and could immediately use the disk drive. Great!

But, I think Atari 800XL was a VERY GOOD home computer worthy the price even without all those enhancements.

800XL in the UK, by Dark Willow:
Atari had really pushed the educational side of the computer, though there were never used in schools over here in the UK (the home of the BBC's).
You could get a home "science lab" kit (can't rember the name) which had an interface block that plugged into one of the joystick ports and allowed you to connect light sensors, temperatre sensors and a whole host of things, along with a chunky book for experiments to try etc.
The software for it had a strange menu system with four options on each screen, each selected by moving the joystick up down, left or right. The mouse really hadn't caught on yet, back then.





 
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